« AnteriorContinuar »
MICHIGAN STATE READING CIRCLE COUNCIL.
REPORT OF THE SECRETARY, MISS MARY E. TILTON, LANSING.
Mr. President :
The Council of the Michigan State Reading Circle would beg leave to submit the following report:
The council consisted, by election by this body, of Prof. Daniel Putnam, Prof. W. S. Perry, Prof. L. C. Hull, Miss Mary E. Tilton, and Superintendent of Public Instruction, Joseph Estabrook, and was organized at its first meeting by the election of Prof. Daniel Putnam, president, and Mary E. Tilton, secretary and treasurer.
The council found, upon examination of affairs, that many teachers had expressed an interest in the movement, and that a large number had purchased some of the books recommended by the previous council, and commenced reading. The correspondence had been large, circulars had been prepared and mailed to most of the teachers in the State, and the county examiners urged to give their support and influence to encourage the work. The State Board of Education recognized the movement in their questions for the examination of teachers, but for some cause the work seemed to lack vitality.
It was found that the method of county organization was unsatisfactory, because of the difficulty of close relation between the county and local circles. After due deliberation the council decided to change the organization by doing away with the county circles and permitting the organization of local circles directly from the office of the state council.
In the early part of the year attention was called to the reading circle and its work, through the leading newspapers of the state.
The courses of reading were revised, and a graded school course added.
Circulars of information have been issued from time to time to old and new members, county examiners, principals and superintendents.
Series of questions have been prepared on each subject of the first year's reading, serving as a guide in the reading itself, and forming the basis for proposed examinations.
An effort has been made to encourage and strengthen the interest of new circles with letters of suggestions and general direction.
As a result of the year's efforts, eighteen new circles have been recorded, with a membership of 165. Though not all that was desired or hoped, the results are far from being discouraging.
The plan of organizing local circles has proved satisfactory.
Many letters have been received from individual members expressing interest in the work, and testifying to the benefit derived from it. Teachers have become better acquainted, strengthened and encouraged in their teaching, from the reading accomplished.
Several letters of inquiry are now waiting a reply.
The leaven has begun its work and under proper conditions will extend its influence until all Michigan, like some of her sister states, has become permeated with the life. giving properties.
New impetus is given the work in the following action of the Association of County Examiners yesterday afternoon:
Resolved, That it is the sense of this Association of County Examiners, that the work of the Michigan State Teachers' Reading Circle is of such importance that it should receive every proper encouragement, and that we, as secretaries, will give it our most hearty approval.
The Association voted to join with the State Teachers' Association in the organization of a council of seven persons, three to be appointed by the Association of Secretaries, and three by the State Association of Teachers, with the Superintendent of Public Instruction a member ex-officio.
The following were named as members from the Association of County Examiners: Messrs. Drake, of Hillsdale, S. W. Baker, of Big Rapids, and C. L. Bemis, of Ionia.
Three vacancies occur in the Council at the present time. One caused by the with: drawal of Prof. L. C. Hull from the State, the other two by the expiration of the term of office of Pres. Putnam and Supt. Perry.
These vacancies should be filled, and it is hoped that the State Association will deem it advisable to recognize the action of the County Examiners by making the membership of its Council seven instead of five, as heretofore.
The course of reading has proved too heavy. Suggesting that this be simplified, beg leave to close this report with a financial statement of the treasurer.
REPORT OF THE PRESIDENT, PROF. DANIEL PUTNAM, YPSILANTI.
The report of the Secretary has made you acquainted with the work of the Council during the past year, and with the progress and present condition of the Reading Circle work in the State.
It is believed that, on the whole, the work is in a better condition than it was a year ago. Progress, however, has been slow, and the results desired have not been attained. Something has been accomplished, but much more ought, in some way, to be done. The members of the Council have been seeking diligently to discover, if possible, reasons for the meager returns for the labor expended, and for the slow advance made. They believe the experience of two years has enabled them to reach one or two definite conclusions in relation to the organization of Reading Circles, and the direction in which efforts should be mainly turned during the next year. The organization, at first proposed and attempted, by counties, was too complex, too cumbersome, and too difficult to be successful in its working. This was consequently abandoned and a much easier and simpler mode of local organization was recommended and adopted. So far as can be learned this plan appears to be generally satisfactory. While preserving all necessary uniformity, it allows each local circle to adopt the details of its organization and its methods of management to its own peculiar needs and conditions. No reasons have been discovered for suggesting any essential modifications in this mode of organization.
The circular of general information for 1887 shows that several courses of reading were laid out for teachers of different degrees of attainment. These courses were arranged with considerable care, and are believed to be fairly well adapted to profit those for whom they were designed. We would allow these advanced courses to remain as suggestive of good reading for teachers in the large graded schools and high schools if they choose to adopt them. It is, however, the unanimous conclusion of the Council, based upon the observation and experience of the past, that the State organization does not need to make any special provision for teachers of these schools beyond the recommendation of valuable professional works. In connection with their principals and superintendents they are abundantly able to provide for their own literary and professional needs, and can usually obtain all necessary books through local agencies at very reasonable rates.
It is our conviction, therefore, that the managers of the Circle should direct their efforts during the next year pretty exclusively for the benefit of teachers in the ungraded and district schools. The needs of these teachers are greater and more obvious, and the means and facilities at their command for supplying such needs are very limited and unsatisfactory. Facts, gathered up during the last year especially, lead us to believe that a general and professional course of reading, elementary in its character, limited in extent, and definite in purpose, should be prepared and explained with considerable fullness of detail in respect to time and amount of work to be done, so that readers of but little acquaintance with books and of little acquaintance with the art of reading may readily understand just what work belongs to each month of the course. The views of members of the Council in respect to the necessity for such minute suggestions and directions have been somewhat modified by the teachings of experience. It has been discovered that they are more essential to the progress of the -class of readers to which reference is here made than we had at first supposed. Guided by past experience a course of this kind can be readily prepared.
So much for the organization and direction of our efforts. The real, vital question re mains to be briefly considered.
The question is this: How can the teachers of the ungraded and district schools be reached and interested in this reading circle work? How can they be induced to form local circles, to provide themselves with the necessary books, and to pursue the course of reading and study regularly and systematically? This is the vital question. Hitherto these teachers have not generally been reached. In some localities good work has been done, but the great body has not been moved. Has this association any means by which an end so much to be desired can be reached ? Among the various methods which might be considered only two practically reduced to one, are sufficiently within the limits of the possible to be worthy of attention.
First, with the steady coöperation of the State department of education, the teachers of the ungraded and district schools can be effectively reached through the secretaries of the county boards of examiners and the chairman of the township boards of school inspectors. The success of any efforts to interest and move the teachers of the district schools depends almost entirely upon the secretaries. If their hearty cooperation can be secured a most excellent work can be accomplished. Without such co-operation very little can be done in most counties.
Can this co-operation be had? To suppose otherwise would seem to be a cruel reflection upon the intelligence and good sense of the chosen official leaders of the educational work of our State. There can be no reasonable doubt that most of the secretaries will be ready and anxious to help and to lead in pushing forward the reading circle enterprise in their respective counties, as soon as fully informed in respect to its aims, plans and methods. The council will undoubtedly depend upon obtaining, in the coming year, the earnest co-operation of both the State department, and of the county officers.
President of Council.
[Since the above was written the meeting of the County Examiners has been held, and they have unanimously and very cordially endorsed the work of the Reading Circle. They have also made the proposition embodied in the report of the Secretary. After informal consideration I feel authorized, on behalf of the Council, to recommend the acceptance and adoption of that proposition, believing such coöperation will greatly advance the Reading Circle work.
A proposition was received some time since from the Superintendent of the Bay View Assembly suggesting a partial union of the Reading Circle with that body. Upon consultation it has been thought best by the Superintendent to withdraw the proposition for such formal union.
It is recommended, however, that the Council be authorized to provide for a Reading Circle day in connection with the meeting of the Bay View Assembly's teachers' department, if they shall deem it advisable to do so.]
SHOULD THE STUDY OF MIND HAVE A LARGER
PLACE IN OUR HIGH SCHOOLS?
BY PRESIDENT G. F. MOSHER, HILLSDALE COLLEGE.
Why should the study of the mind have a place anywhere?
The study of arithmetic, for example, is made prominent, to teach us about the laws of numbers, and the study of astronomy to teach us about the laws of the heavenly bodies, and the study of chemistry to teach us about the laws by which different elements combine or separate.
Why should not the study of mind have a place along with these others to teach us about the laws of mental action ? 4 Each of these sciences is the creation of mind. You do not find the multiplication table ready made anywhere in nature, nor the table of chemical equivalents, nor the table of conjunctions and eclipses. Mind has produced them all. To study them and neglect to study the mind, would be as if the engineer should observe the scenery through which he might be passing, without knowing anything about the machine that was carrying him, or as if the telegraph operator should diligently study the handwriting in the messages he was sending, while remaining ignorant of the instrument with which he was transmitting them.
But it is not alone in making sciences that the mind acts. It is with the mind that we read and sp-11, write and cipher, love and hate, say our prayers, play progressive euchre, and invent baking powders. It is mind that made Lincoln and Washington as well as Booth and Arnold; it is mind that made Jesse Pomeroy a brute as well as Casabianca a hero; and it is mind that made August Spies an anarchist and Nina Van Zandt bent on marrying him. Sir Wm. Hamilton has included it all in his favorite aphorism when he says that “ on earth there is nothing great but man; in man there is nothing great but mind.” He might have added that whatever is base in man is also in the mind ; for, as Milton states it,
“ The mind is its own place, and in itself,
Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven." Now the question is, “ Should the study of mind have a larger place in our high schools?” Should it have a larger place? How large a place does it already have? I cannot find that it is officially recognized as having any place at all. The report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction does